Monday, October 31, 2016

ARC Review: Ricky by Ashley John

On the surface, Ricky Thompson’s life is one long party. His razor sharp wit and unwavering sexual confidence masks his true pain and suffering, and that’s how he wants to keep things. Ten years after the death of his fiancĂ©, Ricky has completely given up on the illusion of love. Wild nights in the bar and even wilder casual sex have become his coping mechanism, and he wants to keep the party going at whatever cost. When he is attacked in a dark alley and left for dead, Ricky’s life takes an unexpected turn and the party suddenly comes to an end.

Chase Brody doesn’t know where life is taking him. Between running his gym and raising his son, Dylan, the only time he puts himself first is his once a week trip to the gay bars. His family has convinced him he needs to find a mother for Dylan, so he keeps his sexual desires secret. He always believed women were for love and men were for sex, but he is forced to reevaluate everything he thought he knew when he stumbles across a helpless man in need of his help.

After Chase takes Ricky to the hospital, he offers him free self-defence classes, but it soon grows into something more complicated and both men are forced to listen to their hearts once again. Chase doesn’t know how Ricky will fit into his difficult life, and Ricky can’t seem to let go of his past heartache. With so much at stake, will these men admit they were wrong about love and surrender their hearts to each other, or is the risk too great?

Jewel's rating:

Hmmm…. I'm not sure what to say, here. I've been wanting to read this author for a while, but I think I should have gone for one of his shorter stories to get a taste of his story telling and writing style before tackling a full length novel.

Ricky Thompson, 38, has sworn off dating of any kind. Since his fiancé died about a decade ago, Ricky just cannot let himself get close to another. So he hides behind his snark and behind the mask his drag queen persona, Miss Kitty Litter, allows him and insists that all he wants out of life is an endless string of one night stands (well, more like an hour or two). He doesn't want to know their names or anything about them. Just fuck and be gone. If he never allows himself to actually be happy, then he doesn't ever have to feel miserable, either, right? Sure, that makes sense.

Chase Brody, 32, is the single father of a 6 year old son, Dylan, from a one night stand he had. Dylan's mother was a party party girl and way too into drugs to raise a kid. So she left Dylan with Chase and then went her merry party way until it killed her. Chase's homophobic family is always around and telling him he needs to find a woman to settle down with because Dylan needs a feminine influence and every child should have a mother and a father, and all kinds of other traditional family and gender role BS that made me twitch. Insistence on more traditional gender and family roles does have a tendency to piss me off. And that Chase was buying into it, regardless of the fact that he rarely found women sexually attractive, just did not sit right with me.

I don't want to say it was all bad, though, because it wasn't. I liked that Chase was so dedicated to his son and that when he saw Ricky in the alley after his attack, he insisted on staying to help. Chase is really a good guy. And Ricky, though he certainly has more issues than National Geographic, is a man who is hurting, but who doesn't want anyone to know it. But he's not a bad guy, either. He's caring and funny and, when he allows himself, very loving. Plus, there seemed to be a reference to Heidi Cullinan's book, Let it Snow that I totally approved of. The overall theme of self-acceptance and second chances at love, I thoroughly loved. And the cover is rather delicious. Ricky's a beautiful man. And thank goodness for Chase's 80-something year old neighbor. She was one of the only adults in the story with some sense when it came to what really makes a family.

ARC Review: Ethan by Ryan Loveless

From The Blurb:
Carter Stevenson is looking forward to a fresh start in a new high school on the other side of the country. It’ll give him a chance to escape his reputation for twitching and stuttering. He’ll have the summer to himself in his new home in California, and in the fall, he won’t get involved in any activity that puts his Tourette’s center stage. He won’t stand out as different. 
But his new neighbor, Ethan, isn’t just going to change his plans. He’s going to change Carter’s life. 
Ethan Hart is recovering from a traumatic brain injury, but it doesn’t dampen his enthusiasm or love for life. As soon as he sees Carter, who moves like the music Ethan sees between the clouds and the grass, he’s determined to become his friend, and then his boyfriend. And even if his parents say their romance can’t get physical, Ethan won’t let it stand in the way of falling in love. 
Stepping into the spotlight was the last thing Carter ever wanted, but Ethan, along with a group of friends who like him just the way he is—tics and all—starts to change his mind. 
Adapted as a YA edition of the award-winning novel Ethan, Who Loved Carter by Ryan Loveless.

Karen's rating:

I first met Ethan and Carter back in 2012 because that's when I read their original story 'Ethan Who Loved Carter' and while I wasn't writing reviews back then I gave it 5 stars so you can definitely take it for granted that I loved that book and I loved these two boys and now here we are 4 years later and I'm reading the YA version of their story and I still love it...all of it. The story, the characters...everything for me has withstood the test of time.

I'm not really sure that I can talk about one of these books without mentioning the other so I guess this is going to be more of a merged review.

Ethan and Carter are two amazing young men both of them unique and special in their own way but both of them also strong and brave. The type of person that would make me so proud if they were my child. Carter has Tourette's Syndrome and dealing with it's manifestations is a daily part of his life that often draws unwanted attention to him, so his goal is just to keep his head down, stay under the radar and avoid notice...that is until Ethan.

Ethan deals with an acquired brain injury (ABI) and just like people ABIs are unique to each individual. Before the event that caused Ethan's ABI he was a bright and talented young man with the promise and potential to light up the world and while his ABI may have altered how it happened, for me, Ethan was still that same young man. Ethan looks at things like the night sky and sees the music that lies between the stars and when he looks at Carter, he doesn't see ticks and uncontrolled movements he hears all the beautiful music that Carter brings to his world.

'Ethan Who Loved Carter' and the YA book 'Ethan' are the story of how these two young men find each other, fall in love and their struggle to show the world that being different means just that it doesn't mean better or worse, more or less. It just means not the same and hopefully we're all different because it's in the differences that we enrich the lives of those we love and offer something special to the world.

Review Tour: Must Like Spinach by Con Riley

Please welcome 

Con Riley with 

Must Like Spinach

Release Date: October 21 2016

Length: 84,200 words

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK 


Jon's future in New York seems bright. He's on the corporate fast track as an executive problem solver, but somehow he can't help feeling hollow. Yearning for a life spent outdoors makes no sense if he wants to flourish in this city, nor does losing his cool with clients when they make bad decisions. Only leaving the East Coast behind for three months can save his business reputation.

His exile in Seattle has unexpected upsides. Jon's rented home has a garden where his true passions blossom. It's overgrown yet idyllic - perfect if he didn't have to share it with another tenant. Tyler might be as cute as hell, and their landlady adores him, but Jon can't let himself fall for someone who seems lazy.

Three months could be enough time to see Tyler clearly, but choosing which to nurture long-term - love or a business career - might take Jon longer than one summer.

Sandra's review:

This book is a bit enemies-to-lovers, though the main lesson here is "don't make assumptions", which is a lesson both MCs and some of the supporting characters have to learn.

There's little angst inside, except for that one nail-biting scene at the end, where Tyler thinks... well, you read this for yourself.

Con Riley's characters aren't handed their happy ending on a silver platter - no, they have to fight for it, grow for it, and stop making assumptions based on outward appearances.

The plot points are well made here, and each word, each sentence, is carefully chosen for full impact. There is no fluff here, no filler. Each scene has a purpose, to further the plot, to explain the characters' actions and mindset.

Jon is focused on his career as a management consultant, working for a high-powered firm in NYC. What Jon struggles with however is when the companies for whom he's doing the analysis, the consulting, don't take his suggestions to make changes. After the last job gone sour, he's being sent to Seattle to do an analysis on a company which invests and makes money in real estate. Needing a place to stay, he stumbles upon a rental ad where one of the requirements reads "Must Like Spinach". Intrigued, he overlooks the rundown exterior of the house, and the filth of the studio apartment above the garage, because the house has something he's been missing - a garden to grow things, vegetables, flowers. See, Jon remembers a time where he wasn't so career-driven by guilt, when things were easier, when he grew things in a garden much like this one, with his mom.

Tyler is barely hanging on, working multiple jobs and looking after the owner of the home, who is a very nice lady with a bit of a memory issue. Having put his trust in the wrong person, Tyler is now paying the price. However, pride keeps him from letting anyone, including Jon, know the strain he's under.

I really liked how the author made her characters alike in some aspects, and so very different in others. They fit well together, even if both of them initially think that their fling will be just that - a fling, since Jon is supposed to return to the east coast after the job is done.

Blogtour: Hotline by Quinn Anderson

Please welcome Quinn Anderson with 


Hello, everyone! This is Quinn Anderson, author of the Murmur Inc. series, and I'm here to share some inside information about, Hotline, coming out October 31st. Stay tuned to hear about where I get my ideas, writing comedy, and how I went "undercover" as a sex worker to research my novels. Leave comments on the tour posts for a chance to win a $10 Riptide Publishing gift card!

How I Came to Write Hotline

I ended up writing a book about phone sex in much the same way that my main character, Zack, became a Phone Sex Operator (PSO). That was also how my research began.

Before the beginning of the novel, Zack is up late one night, very much unemployed, when he sees a commercial for a phone sex hotline. He has nothing else going on—no prospects, no higher education, no real-life skills—and so he decides to give it a try.

Hotline exists because the same thing happened to me. When I graduated from the University of Dublin in Ireland and moved back to America, I spent a few months job-hunting and overcoming reverse culture shock (which I thought was a myth before I experienced it). I was up late one night, unemployed and gloomy, when I saw an ad for a phone sex hotline. I don’t know why it clicked in my head the way it did, but I sat straight up in bed and said, “That would make a fantastic novel.”

I’d read about sex work before, of course. I think we all have. Rent boys and cam boys are such a common trope. However, I’d never read a book about phone sex before, and I thought, This is my opportunity to do something a little different. Zack and I ended up making the exact same next move: we both called the phone sex hotline and signed up for an audition.

What happened to me afterward is (slightly) different from what happened to Zack, but that’s a topic for another blog entry.

About the book:

Zack never intended to become a phone sex operator, but with half a college degree and a smart mouth, his options were limited. It helps that he has a knack for thinking on his feet and a willingness to roll with whatever his clients throw at him. Sure, he gets his fair share of creeps and unconventional requests, but it pays the bills, and he’s in no danger of breaking his one rule: never fall for a client.

Until a man named “John” starts calling, and Zack finds himself interested in more than a paycheck. It’s not just that John has money, or that his rumbling baritone drives Zack wild. He’s everything Zack isn’t: educated, poised, and in total control of his life.

A twist of fate brings them face-to-face, and now that they’ve seen each other—and spent an unforgettable night together—they can’t go back to the way things were. A sex worker and a trust fund brat . . . It’s like Romeo and Juliet, but with less stabbing and slightly fewer dick jokes. Hopefully they can pull off a more successful ending.

Get the book:

Sandra's review:

This was a fun book to read. I really enjoyed myself. It's total fluff for the most part, of course, but the humor and snark was exactly what I needed at the time I read it.

Zack is a PSO (Phone Sex Operator), which, considering his partial college and smart mouth, is about as good as it could get for him, job-wise. Or so he thinks. He's good at the job, going with the flow of the ever so, uhm, interesting requests his clients have, and while he doesn't love his job, he does love that it pays the bills. Not that he thought this is what he'd be doing with his life, and he doesn't enjoy the quotas he has to meet, but he's okay with doing this, for now.

Until one day "John" calls in, and turns Zack's boring existence upside down. Zack's getting turned on by the phone sex, and "John's" sexy baritone, which doesn't usually happen, and their frequent calls show Zack that "John" may be totally out of his league. Because Trust Fund Baby and PSO don't go all that well together, according to Zack. But his quotas are rising, and his boss is not riding him so hard anymore. Good, right?

I totally bought the lust parts of this story, and the phone sex was super hot and getting hotter by the minute between Zack and "John".

But then Zack runs into "John" in a bar, and things aren't so simple anymore. After some hot shmexing (in person this time), he bails, and doesn't know what to do. "John" of course calls in again, but Zack is still a bit freaked out. So "John" does something really stupid (and slightly unbelievable, but super romantic albeit a bit stalkerish), that almost gets Zack in huge trouble.

Obviously, this is a romance, so all's well that ends well, which this book does too, but while I bought the lusty parts, I didn't exactly buy the romantic side so much.

Still, this is a fun read. Slightly unbelievable, a bit tropey, and fairly unrealistic, but definitely fun. Give it a try. Seriously. Do.

** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher via Netgalley. A positive review was not promised in return. **

About the author:

Blogtour: Make Someone Happy by Hank Fielder

Please welcome Hank Fielder with 

Make Someone Happy 

Greetings and Happy Halloween!  It’s wonderful to join you here at My Fiction Nook.

I’m Hank Fielder and my new MM Fiction novella is called “Make Someone Happy,” and it’s an urban fantasy.  I’ve written two previous MM romance novels, both published by Dreamspinner Press.

Each of my novels is unique (that is, not like the others) in terms of characters, setting, even genre.  But I think they all have one thing in common.  They all were written with music in mind, and all contain references to music.

Music can be a powerful muse for me.  Does it have a similar effect on you?  How do you harness this energy?

I love to write about “behind the scenes” stuff that goes into creating a fun story, so today my topic is all about music:  the music I listen to when I’m writing (name-drop alert), the music that inspires me, and how I decide whether I’m going to reference a song directly in the narrative.  

It’s all about choices that go into the structure and building of a story that I hope feels real and well-rounded.

Making these kinds of “background” decisions is one of the best and most fun parts of crafting a story.  I’ve heard of the “grocery cart” theory of compiling resonating details that an author can use to create verisimilitude.  Maybe I could call my musical process the “playlist package” approach.

When it comes to what I listen to while writing or planning, the specific music needn’t enter the story explicitly.  It’s really more about energy and inspiration and drawing out emotion I can try to capture in a new way.

For example, for energy, I love to listen to old disco and have a special place in my heart for British 80s -- Soft Cell, Human League, Depeche mode.  My first MM novel, “Emerald Idol,” is set in part in London in the 80s.  In that novel I mentioned those groups and their incomparable hits, like “Tainted Love” and “Don’t You Want me.”

Readers either instantly know those songs or perhaps they grow curious and want to seek them out.

I still get pumped up listening to that stuff today, but I don’t reference 80s music in “Make Someone Happy,” which is set in the present.         

Since my new story is about what happens when some magic goes haywire, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (I grew up in Wisconsin), in an ordinary place, I wanted to ground the story in the real: the here and now.  Hard realistic details like familiar music helps balance us when we take a leap into fantasy (I hope!).

For example, in an early scene my main characters Joe and Andre go to a fictional LGBT bar for a drink, and of course music is playing.  I think I could have done worse than to choose Adele for that musical moment when the guys are walking into the bar, coming in off the night street.

The moment when the music of a club washes over you can feel exciting and romantic.  It’s part of a fun world we’re entering.  I wanted to capture this feeling.  And since I love Adele’s music, it was easy to imagine the scene.  I listened to Adele foremost on my playlist while writing this tale.

Not mentioned in the story, but building atmosphere in my writing process, are other contemporary musical artists. I just took the newest stuff I enjoy and transferred it to my main character’s tastes.  Even if I don’t mention such details directly in a story, this process helps me learn who these characters are.  So who does Joe really get into musically?  Think Drake, Frank Ocean, Beyonce, Taylor Swift -- the list goes on.

Being a music-lover isn’t a required trait for an author; I wouldn’t presume to suggest that.  I know authors who like to write in strict silence.  

Whatever works.

I need music and my tastes range all over the place.  Driving to work, lately, I like music that can double as a caffeine-accelerant.  My wake-up music on weekdays is high energy.

When I’m writing in the evenings, it’s music that accentuates the emotion of the story I’m writing.  

My partner is getting into jazz, so if we’re having people over we go for up-tempo stuff, from older or vintage recordings (Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald), to Latin, to some truly mind-bending new stuff by American saxophonist Kamasi Washington and Cuban jazz pianist Chuchu Valdes.

My favorite TV show is “Dancing With Stars,” even though I am probably a worse dancer than Rick Perry.  If there’s music and dancing, I’m so there!

I like it quiet when I read, or maybe with a bit of classical playing softly.  

On Sunday mornings, the tradition at our house is a few hours of classical music with our coffee as we slob around in our sweatpants.  I’m getting into choral music, too, and my favorite composers are Bach and Mozart.  

I also like plenty of country music, and I like Christmas music -- the more the merrier, come December (I know I’m not alone in this!).

Just sitting there listening to music is, for me, a gift that keeps on giving.

But before too long, I’m back to my laptop, working away on the loves and lives of my characters.  Music is an indispensable tool in my tool-kit.  The way it drives emotion in a story reflects how it enriches my everyday life.

A lot of the fun of creating something like a story is joining in a larger world of creativity, beauty, and goodness.  The achievements of the artists filling up my room with their heartfelt songs helps me shoot for the moon.  

It makes the trying and the effort a part of its own reward.

About the book:

Cover Design: Paul Richmond
Massage therapist Joe Wells is in a little over his head with his first job at the posh Magic Touch Sports Spa. He’s also secretly falling for his friendly, sexy coworker, the top-notch masseur Andre Swift. All the clients clamor for Andre, and so far none have taken to Joe.
On the verge of being fired, Joe saves the life of a mysterious kitten belonging to a white witch, who grants him a wish: a magic touch that could save his job and maybe even win him Andre’s love and respect. As Joe’s stock at the spa rises to crazy and barely manageable levels of success, demand for Andre’s services drops off. Will Joe lose Andre to an out-of-control spell? Or worse—Andre’s love might prove to be only a result of the magic, just like Joe’s sudden talent.

Length: Novella 
Format: e-book
Genre: Urban Fantasy (Fiction) 
Publisher: Dreamspinner PressPublication 
Date: October 26, 2016 

Get the book:

About the author:

Sunday, October 30, 2016

ARC Review: Must Like Spinach, by Con Riley

From the blurb:

Jon’s future in New York should be bright. He’s on the corporate fast track as an executive problem solver, yet he can’t help feeling hollow. Yearning for a life spent outdoors makes no sense if he wants to flourish in this city, nor does losing his cool with clients when they make bad decisions. Only leaving the East Coast behind for three months can save his business reputation. His exile in Seattle has unexpected upsides. Jon’s rented home has a garden where his true passions blossom. It’s overgrown yet idyllic—perfect if he didn’t have to share it with another tenant. Tyler might be as cute as hell, and their landlady adores him, but Jon can’t let himself fall for someone who seems lazy. Three months could be enough time to see Tyler clearly, but choosing which to nurture long-term—love or a business career—might take Jon longer than one summer.

AnnaLund's Rating:

Fast track. Slick business boys, cutting costs for huge corporations, walking over dead bodies.
All things I positively hate.

And here goes Con Riley and makes me love this boy, Jonathan. How he finds peace in a garden in Seattle. How he connects with an elderly lady (how unusual to find real characters in an m/m story), and how he connects with the young man across the yard, despite at first judging him harshly.

Not everything is as it seems, and a garden in which to grow spinach is just one of the many layers of story within this story.

When your career makes you have to choose between being a good man and continuing in your job, you need to sit down and have yourself a good long think. And somehow this is not about Jon, no, it’s about the corporation he’s currently evaluating.

As usual with Con Riley, this is not a steamy story. It is slow burn. I love this. This is introspective, delving deep into what makes a man a man, and why we sometimes lose sight of who we are.

Spotlight: Omega Studies by Casey Cameron

Today we shine the spotlight on Casey Cameron and

Omega Studies


Matt Guerrero is ready for the freedom that college brings: freedom from his controlling family, and from the pressures of being an omega in an alpha's world. So when the school assigns him an alpha "mentor," he can think of nothing he wants less than a mandatory matter how hot the guy is. 

Derek Fisher is just trying to play it safe after a big mistake almost cost him everything last year, but it's hard to keep his head down when his assigned omega keeps making trouble. He's never been into guys before, but he can't deny Matt is attractive, smart, and funny, and spending time with him is more than a little distracting. Derek wants more, but giving in to his desires could put everything at risk all over again.

When Matt uncovers a plot that could tear the school apart, he's all in--on fighting it, and on his relationship with Derek. Derek won't let him do it alone, but they're going to have to fight the school administration, their classmates' prejudices, and a ghost from Derek's past before they can be together the way Derek truly wants: as alpha and omega.


When Matt got to his room, Lisa was sitting on his bed while she listened to Jesse, draped dramatically over his own bed, espouse on the many virtues of his assigned alpha.

“ then he just turned around, walked back into the bookstore, and bought me an umbrella! It’s a cheap five-dollar piece of junk, but I’m going to treasure it forever,” Jesse said with a dreamy sigh.

As Matt closed the door, the umbrella, which had been propped up against the wall to dry, clattered to the floor, and Jesse gasped. “Better treasure it a little more carefully,” Matt said, standing it back up. “Doesn’t your alpha’s first gift have special significance? What does a five-buck umbrella say?”

“Made in China?” Lisa suggested. “Warning: highly flammable?”

Jesse gave her a lascivious grin. “It means he wants to get me all wet.”

Lisa and Matt both groaned. Matt flopped down on the bed next to Lisa and kicked off his shoes. “I take it things went well with...what was his name?”

“I haven’t caught his name yet,” Lisa said with a sigh, “but according to Jesse, he’s God’s gift to omegas, even though he doesn’t seem to know anything else about the guy besides the fact that he’s a sexy alpha.”

Jesse let out another long sigh and started ticking off points on his fingers as he talked. “His name is Paul, he’s Filipino, he’s hot, he’s funny, he loves dogs and kids, he’s hot, he’s single, he’s on the hockey team, he’s a literature major, and have I mentioned he’s hot?

“I stand corrected,” Lisa said, raising her hands. “He sounds great.”

Matt shrugged. “I guess, but is he hot?”

So hot,” Jesse groaned into his pillow, pressing it against his face like he was trying to smother himself.

“How about you?” Lisa asked over Jesse’s whimpers. “Did everything go okay with your ‘alpha mentor?’” She didn’t actually roll her eyes and make air quotes, but Matt could hear them in her voice. Not for the first time, Matt felt grateful that he had friends who saw things the way he did.

This time it was Matt’s turn to groan. “No, things did not go okay. They did not go okay at all.”

Lisa’s expression was one of wide-eyed worry. “Why? What did he do?”

“Nothing,” Matt said with a sigh, “but that’s kind of the problem.” Jesse pulled the pillow a few inches off his face and raised one eyebrow. “He was checking me out; he definitely wanted to do something.”

“I’m really not seeing how that’s a problem,” Jesse said pointedly.

Matt snorted. “You wouldn’t.”

“Wait, I’m confused,” Lisa said. “Did you want him to do something? I thought you hated that he even exists.”

“No!” Matt pinched the bridge of his nose. “Well, maybe. But he’s kind of a dick. I mean, he thinks omegas belong barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. Plus, I kind of think he’s straight. At least, if he’s gay or bi or whatever, he’s not out. He was doing the whole alpha scenting thing, but he didn’t look happy about it.”

“Ooh,” Jesse said excitedly, “you can show him our mysterious ways! Let him taste the rainbow.”

Lisa laughed so hard she started coughing, and Matt had to thump her on the back to get her to settle back down. “I let a couple guys ‘taste the rainbow’ before,” he said, and Lisa snickered again, “and it didn’t go well. I’m done letting straight alpha boys use me as their big gay experiment. Especially if he’s closeted. I don't care how hot he is—he’s not worth the trouble.”

“Hmm,” Lisa said, “so he is hot.”

“Like the sun,” Matt admitted emphatically, his head falling backwards with a soft thump against the mattress. “Like a human personification of the sun who works out every day by benching other, smaller suns.”

“Well, you know what my advice is going to be,” Lisa said with a shrug.

“Ugh, is this another of your annoyingly mature ‘just talk to him’ speeches?”

Spotlight: Stroke Of Luck by Posy Roberts

Please welcome Posy Roberts with 

Stroke Of Luck 


You're gonna fall in love with me. You're already halfway there. 
After everything Marc owned burned to a crisp, he’s living off the kindness of others. A model condo is his temporary home, and his last dime went to essentials. He doesn’t need another distraction, but the fates conspire against him, setting up a chain of encounters that bring him face to face with Cas. Cas’s love life has been in limbo for years, lovers moving on as soon as they discover how close he is to his best friend, Maisie. 
Then he meets Marc. The attraction between the two men can’t be denied, but Cas isn’t sure he can risk his friendship for a guy who will only end up leaving when he sees how close he and Maisie are. When Marc and Cas discover they live in the same building, it’s kismet. But Marc has to invite chaos into his life if he and Cas stand a chance, and Cas faces a choice between friendship and love. Luck may be on their side... if they're willing to risk it all.

Genre: MM Romance, contemporary, bisexual, LGBT, Halloween, friendship, love, fate 
Length: Novella, 25,000 words 
Publisher: Labyrinth Bound Press 


Scene setup: Marc is shopping for kitchen items and clothes at Goodwill to replace what burned in a fire a week ago. He runs into Cas and Maisie looking for Halloween costumes.

Oh. My. Gawd!” the blonde woman said, voice rising in pitch with each word.
What do you think?” A built guy with jacked-up shoulders and an amazing ass that had been poured into tight, red jeans walked in front of Marc and over to his previous dance partner. The guy wiggled his hips in a mesmerizing way.
Cas… oh my God. Turn around! Let me see that ass.”
Marc watched as… Cas turned. The woman spanked him, and Cas stuck his ass out as if asking for “another, please.”
They look amazing. What do you think?”
Hmmm.” Cas looked over his shoulder at his reflection in the mirror, and Marc noticed a white streak in his dark hair, about two inches wide. “Well, Maisie, I think these are it. Now, if I can find a red leather jacket, that would be great. You still have those leather pieces at home from the vest you made last year, right?”
Yeah. You gonna embellish?”
Mhmm.” Cas marched over to the jackets and stood right across from Marc. Maisie went back to picking through the racks a few rows away.
Marc found himself staring outright at the hot guy and studying that streak in his hair. He tore his attention back to the coats, hunting for something that could serve for both work and casual. A peacoat would be nice, if he could afford it.
Look at this!” Cas was enthusiastic as he slipped on a hideous red jacket, but Maisie ignored him.
Marc couldn’t keep his snort of laughter in. The coat was that bad.
Something funny?” Cas asked with a bitch brow.
Marc bit his lip and shook his head before double-checking the size on the coat he’d just found. He slipped it over his shoulders. It felt comfortable.
What? What’s so funny?”
Nothing. I’m sorry. It’s just….”
Laughing at the queer guy willing to try something besides black or navy, huh?” Cas gestured to the navy wool coat Marc wore.
No. It’s not that. It’s just that… you look… you look like….”
Maisie came to the rescue. “Get that off, Cas! You look like Michael Jackson. All it’s missing is silver zippers and spangles on the shoulders. Off!”
Marc slipped the navy coat in his cart and had started to make his escape when he was stopped by Cas’s apology. “Sorry, man.” When Marc turned back, he was glad to see the hideous coat was no longer on Cas, and Maisie was tucking it deep between other clothes so no one else needed to be accosted by it. “I didn’t mean to imply you were homophobic or anything.” Cas shrugged.
I’d be a hypocrite if I were.” Marc gave Cas what he hoped was his warmest smile, and then he winked.

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Ambiguous Bisexuality

Stroke of Luck is about Marc and Cas. Both are bisexual men who have been with a variety of partners ranging in genders and sexualities. When they run into each other shopping at Goodwill, Cas is particularly ambiguous about his sexuality. He flirts with the woman he’s with, Maisie, he calls himself queer, and then he and Maisie are affectionate. Marc never jumps to conclusions, but remains open to whatever he sees, even if he would love to get Cas’s number.

Re-release Blitz: Candy Houses by J.C. Daniels

Candy Houses 
(Grimm's Circle #1)
by J.C. Daniels


Think you know fairy tales? Guess again.
It’s been hundreds of years since Greta’s so-called story came to an end and it didn’t end with a happily ever after then. Why should she expect it to be any different now?
She’s a Grimm—a special kind of guardian angel and official ass-kicker in the paranormal world. Between trying to stay alive, training new Grimm and dealing with demons, romance is hard to come by. Then there’s the fact that there’s only been one man ever who really made her heart race.
And he’s been out of her life for a long, long time…
But now he’s back and just in time.
Greta needs Rip’s help.
There’s an unexpected threat to their world, a betrayal none of them saw coming.
Working together is the last thing they want, but it just might be their only chance.
A fairy tale best suited for grown-ups…don’t say you weren’t warned.

Available to purchase at 


About The Author

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Audiobook ARC Review: Save of the Game by Avon Gale

Save of the Game (Scoring Chances #2)
From the blurb:

After last season’s heartbreaking loss to his hockey team’s archrival, Jacksonville Sea Storm goalie Riley Hunter is ready to let go of the past and focus on a winning season. His new roommate, Ethan Kennedy, is a loud New Yorker with a passion for social justice that matches his role as the team’s enforcer. The quieter Riley is attracted to Ethan and has no idea what to do about it.

Ethan has no hesitations. As fearless as his position demands, he rushes into things without much thought for the consequences.Though they eventually warm to their passionate new bond, it doesn’t come without complications. While trying to financially help Ethan, Riley must hide his family’s wealth so as not to hurt Ethan’s immense pride. For their relationship to work, Ethan will need to learn when to keep the gloves on and let someone help him—and Riley will have to learn it’s okay to let someone past his defenses.

Heather's rating:

Avon Gale is on FIRE with this series! Hot, sexy, sweet, entertaining, PLUS HOCKEY GUYS! I honestly couldn't ask for more.

Save of the Game was another excellent book in a series that is shaping up to be a favorite of mine. I think this author has helped convert me to a full-time hockey fan because hockey books are my new obsession!

I, again, listened to this as an audiobook, and I had the same reactions to the narrator, Scott R. Smith, as last time. There is something about his cadence that takes a little getting used to, but once I got used to his manner of speaking, I was HOOKED.

I love that Scott R. Smith does different voices for different characters and really puts his all into it. I'm from a NYC suburb, and though the accent for Ethan may seem a little over-the-top, it really isn't. I hear people talk similarly all the time. I loved how the narrator went for it. I also loved his mellow voice for Riley. Just a great narration, very well done.

ARC Review: Arctic Fire by Keira Andrews

When two strangers are trapped in a blizzard, heat rises.

Haunted by what he lost in Afghanistan, Captain Jack Turner is at a crossroads. While the last place he wants to go is the Arctic, at least the routine mission gets him out from behind his new desk. But he starts off on the wrong foot with the Canadian Ranger guiding him across the forbidding and dangerous land, and Jack would rather be anywhere than sharing a tent with Sergeant Kin Carsen.

The Arctic is in Kin's blood, and he can't seem to leave the tundra behind. He wishes he could live openly as a gay man, but the North isn't as accepting as the rest of Canada. Although he's lonely, he loves his responsibility as a Ranger, patrolling the vast land he knows so well. But he's on unfamiliar ground with Jack, and when they're stranded alone by a blizzard, unexpected desire begins to burn. Soon they're in a struggle to survive, and all these strangers have is each other.

Note: This gay romance features emotional repression, hurt/comfort, adventure on the tundra, and love where you least expect it.

Arctic Fire first appeared in the military bundle Unconditional Surrender in 2014.

Jweel's rating:

Arctic Fire was originally published in the Unconditional Surrender Anthology, so if you have that anthology, you've already got this story.

I loved that Keira Andrews was able to make this novella seem like a touch of a slow burn while actually having some heat (without insta-love). And the ending is an HFN, which seems authentic to the time span in which the story takes place (just a few days). I thought Arctic Fire was a gorgeous story about two men who never thought they would actually find a connection, and finding it anyway, when and where they least expected it.

The entirety of the story in Arctic Fire takes place in a part of the world that is probably very beautiful in its starkness, and that I hope to never see in person (I don't deal well with cold). I looked up Nanisivik and Arctic Bay in Nunavut Province, on Google Maps, though, and wow. I had not realized that people actually lived that far north. But I digress, as usual.

ARC Review: Arctic Fire by Keira Andrews

When two strangers are trapped in a blizzard, heat rises.

Haunted by what he lost in Afghanistan, Captain Jack Turner is at a crossroads. While the last place he wants to go is the Arctic, at least the routine mission gets him out from behind his new desk. But he starts off on the wrong foot with the Canadian Ranger guiding him across the forbidding and dangerous land, and Jack would rather be anywhere than sharing a tent with Sergeant Kin Carsen.

The Arctic is in Kin's blood, and he can't seem to leave the tundra behind. He wishes he could live openly as a gay man, but the North isn't as accepting as the rest of Canada. Although he's lonely, he loves his responsibility as a Ranger, patrolling the vast land he knows so well. But he's on unfamiliar ground with Jack, and when they're stranded alone by a blizzard, unexpected desire begins to burn. Soon they're in a struggle to survive, and all these strangers have is each other.

Dani's rating:

The Arctic is endless ice and northern lights. It’s intense cold and bone-deep loneliness. Kin Carsen knows. The Arctic is his home. Kin is a teacher and a ranger. His life is peaceful and predictable. Until the day he meets Jack.

Jack left a piece of himself behind in Afghanistan. He’s drifting, going through the motions, but he’s not living, not really. Sent to the Arctic on a discovery mission, Jack thinks the whole thing is pointless. But his commander insists. He knows Jack needs . . . something, something other than a desk job.

For Kin and Jack, it’s not love at first sight. Jack comes across as arrogant and dismissive. And Kin is defensive and standoffish. He knows this land better than anyone, and Jack has much to learn.

Blogtour: Coffee Boy by Austin Chant

Coffee Boy by Austin Chant

Book Information

Title: Coffee Boy
Author: Austin Chant
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: October 31, 2016
Category: Romance
Genre: Contemporary
Sex Content: Explicit
Pairing: MM
Orientation: Bi, Gay
Identity: Cis, Trans
Length: Novella Words: 27600 Pages: 60
Cover Artist: Natasha Snow

Book Blurb

After graduation, Kieran expected to go straight into a career of flipping burgers—only to be offered the internship of his dreams at a political campaign. But the pressure of being an out trans man in the workplace quickly sucks the joy out of things, as does Seth, the humorless campaign strategist who watches his every move.

Soon, the only upside to the job is that Seth has a painful crush on their painfully straight boss, and Kieran has a front row seat to the drama. But when Seth proves to be as respectful and supportive as he is prickly, Kieran develops an awkward crush of his own—one which Seth is far too prim and proper to ever reciprocate.

Exclusive Excerpt

He leads the way to the place he picked out, a fancy downtown cocktail lounge overlooking the river that runs through the middle of the city. It’s the kind of place he’d never go himself, a swank and expensive joint, but with Seth, he thinks he can make an exception. Even if it means he’ll only be able to afford one drink.

“This looks nice,” Seth says, offensively surprised.

“Hey, I told you it was!”

“Well, it’s very nice.”

Kieran elbows him. “You fucking bet it is.”

They get a booth by a window; the lounge has serious mood lighting, soft purples and blues and candles stacked at the end of the table. Outside, the river is lit up bright, bands of roving locals and tourists mingling on the riverwalk. The waitress checks both their IDs—Seth looks surprised and flattered when she asks for his—and goes away with their drink orders. A frozen strawberry margarita for Kieran, and a scotch on the rocks for Seth, because apparently their alcoholic drink choices are the opposite of their Starbucks orders.

“See, man?” Kieran says. “You’re young enough to look like a college freshman trying to drink at a bar.”

“Fair enough,” Seth says. The purple-blue lighting makes him look younger. Smiling does, too. “Would you like something to eat?”

“Oh, uh...” Kieran glances at the appetizer menu and wants to cry. Who the hell spends fifteen bucks on “gourmet fries”? “That’s okay. They’re pretty pricey.”

Seth shrugs. Probably because he makes more than seven bucks an hour at his job. “I don’t mind,” he says, and before Kieran can argue he’s flagged down a waiter. “What do you want? I’ll pay.”

Kieran cannot deal with Seth buying him dinner on top of everything else he’s done today. “You don’t have to. It’s fine.”

Seth frowns. “Call me old, but it’s better to eat something with alcohol. You have a young liver, but I don’t. What do you want?”

Kieran chews on his lip, face red. “Uh, the fries. I guess.”

Seth orders the fries and a plate of tiny, egregiously expensive crab sliders. Kieran tries to remember that the money doesn’t mean anything to Seth, that he doesn’t need to feel so mortified by the guy buying him dinner.

Then his margarita arrives, and it’s huge. Big, red, and juicy, with a ripe strawberry on top. Kieran whoops, forgetting his mortification. “Don’t know why you ordered scotch,” he says, sucking the strawberry between his lips. “Fruity drinks, man.”

Seth clears his throat and looks away. “I get enough sugar in my coffee.”

“No, really?”
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